Making Art From Money

June 11th, 2013 

This video from the New Yorker looks into the gilder’s craft: a practice where fragile pages of gold are worked into delicate decadence.

Watching Beth Fishman talk about her work brings to mind the strange commonality between money and art.

To go beyond the mere value of what we can see and touch, art and money both require an act of faith, an acceptance of the essential qualities that make a thing unique, beautiful, valuable, or rare.

When this act of faith if challenged we call it a counterfeit, or a forgery.

I’ve been thinking about these kinds of things a lot lately as Bitcoin has become more popular.

Currency, in the way I’ve always thought about it, seems to suggest a going concern, a kind of collective circulatory system of a particular society that’s fixed in time and place.

Money was rare.

Money was authoritative (or even authoritarian).

Yet a digital currency that only exist as the output of an algorithm is totally separate from that.

Yes, Bitcoin can be spent for computers, or coffee, or drugs—but can it gild? Can it succeed as cultural, as well as economic currency?

I suppose building cultural value is the sort of things brands are trying to do all the time. The evolution of the Bitcoin brand promises to be an interesting one.

Interview: Paul Auster and His Writing

April 17th, 2013 

Author Paul Auster talks about his childhood infatuation with cinema (along with his repressed desire to direct films):


As a major fan of Auster—Invention of Solitude remains one of my all-time favorite books—I definitely notice a cinematic bent in some of his writing, even if he denies it in this interview.

Man in the Dark comes to mind as a story that takes shape through cut scenes and fantasy sequences, not to mention the allusions to Auster’s own theories about film.

I’m currently pretending to read another book by Paul Auster mentioned in this interview, The Brooklyn Follies; I’m mostly just carrying it around the house.


A black and white photo of five identical men at a round table

The cover from Paul Auster’s book, Invention of Solitude; via summer of Auster

Bonus round: Follow this link to watch Paul Auster discuss translations of literature.

Martin Scorcese watching his own films

February 14th, 2013 

This video series shows Martin Scorcese performing the unenviable task of reflecting on clips of his own work.

Paul Auster on Translating Literature

January 22nd, 2013 

Paul Auster has been one of my favorite contemporary authors ever since I read “Invention of Solitude.” In the clip above he responds to a question on how language and style affect the translation of literature. The clip is notable not just for his response, but for the thoughtfully conveyed question, as well.

An evening with GZA

January 9th, 2013 

GZA—leader of the Wu-Tang clan—discusses his early days of music, interest in chess, and more.